Monday, May 9, 2011

In Lieu of Motorcycle

    My son is an avid motorcycle tourer and when he posts pictures of his adventures I remember my motorcycling days and get the urge to ride again.   Last fall I was actively looking for a motorcycle in anticipation of riding again.    There are still men in their seventies who are  riding so I didn't think I was too crazy.    I must say I have a very tolerant wife who calmly said, "Well if that is what you really want to do I can handle it".   However she did ask where I would ride and with whom.   I wrestled with this idea for a while and held off buying a cycle with the thought of perhaps buying one this spring.
Gerry's Smart Car
    During the winter I had a reality check with memories of the challenges of motorcycling.   As my son says you must ride with All The Gear All The Time.   This means you need the proper helmets, clothing and shoes to be as safe as possible.   That further reminded me that riding means taking the time to gear up every time you ride.   Then I recalled some of my cross country rides with cold and wet winds.   Even with the proper gear it can be taxing.    In spite of all these misgivings I still had the desire to capture some of the excitement of travel on a motorcycle.
   I am pleased to say that I have found a motorcycle alternative that brings back the pleasure of  travel  on the open road.    The answer for me was the Smart Car.  This sub-sub compact two-seater is truly a fun vehicle half the length of  a compact car with a good safety rating and many of the standard amenities of full size cars.   This rear engine - rear wheel drive vehicle has an automatic transmission that may be operated in a manual mode with paddle shifters in the steering wheel.    It is truly fun to drive in either manual or automatic mode and one can move from one mode to the other to fit the the driving conditions of the moment.  After three weeks of ownership I enjoy driving the Smart Car as much or more than the first day I had it.   The car is a head turner since there are probably only a couple of them in the two counties I regularly travel in.   It provokes as many smiles as I have on my face when I am driving.
   I even look forward to driving it to the ski area this winter.   Of course I will have carried my skis and poles to my locker with my Toyota Camry so all I will have to carry are my boots.  Or maybe not since I could let the skis stick out the window on the driver's side or out the back with the open tail gate window.   Meanwhile, Nancy and I will try some overnight road trips this summer.   Limited luggage space but enough room for a couple of overnight bags.

Pack Light - Tennis Racket and Overnight Bag
    Finally as an engineer, I continue to be impressed by the quality of engineering that went into the production of this vehicle from the Mercedes-Benz stable of cars.

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